Yamini Narayanan is an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, Deakin University, Melbourne. Her work explores trans-species feminist urban planning, examining the significant and yet often invisible role of animals in urban development. Her book Religion, Heritage and the Sustainable City: Hinduism and Urbanisation in Jaipur (Routledge) was published in 2015.
To analyse Gadhimai purely in terms of a religious motivation to please the voracious appetite of a carnivorous goddess is to miss the desperate economic realities that undergird India's agricultural economy and motivate the disposal of economically "unviable" animals. Religious superstition undoubtedly plays a major -- but not the only -- role in animal and human rights abuse.
The bulls in a frozen semen farm are magnificent creatures, deemed genetically the most superior of their species for their capacity to sire high-milk yielding daughters. At about 18 months of age, healthy young bulls are inducted into dairy slavery. In a single holding stall of a bovine frozen semen factory, 40 to 60 bulls at a minimum, across species and breeds are tethered tightly, with barely two or three feet of space separating one bull from another.